Wednesday 9 September 2015

Rainham 'colour-ringed' Black-tailed Godwits

The sign that autumn birding was on its way came in the form of the passage of waders through the UK over recent weeks. Rainham Marshes RSPB, London held a variety including a long staying Wood Sandpiper during August 2015 with Common and Green Sandpipers sharing Aveley Pools. Dunlin and LR Plover completed the small ones here and Greenshank, Ruff, Redshank and Black-tailed Godwits were bigger ones present. Not forgetting a handful each of Whimbrel and Curlew favouring the Thames shore or Purfleet Scrape.

Main focus on the 50 or so strong flock of Black-tailed Godwits roosting and feeding in the shallow water of Aveley Pools sporting a variety of plumages. A turn over of birds during August with at least 4 colour ringed individuals. It's been fun and a challenge at times to identify their combinations as the strong light, heat haze and distance to the flock proved problematic.

With thanks to the help of JG and JA - UEA, BP - Iceland, HTV and RB - Rainham Marshes RSPB, and apologies for any omissions,  here is a summary of the colour ringed birds with a couple of record shots thrown in. Check out the excellent work carried out by the ringers at

Bird 1 (Red Lime - Green Lime)

Debate about the lower ring colour. Looks like the above combination is favourite. Female ringed in Iceland in May 2010 wintering mainly in Sussex, UK with sightings in Hampshire, Kent, The Wash and the inner and outer Thames Estuary. Seen at Rainham Marshes RSPB in August 2015.

Bird 2 (Yellow Blue - Green Green flag)

Debate on combination as well, likely to be as listed above. Male ringed in November 2012 in Portugal, wintering there in subsequent years. Observed in Dordrecht, The Netherlands in March 2015. Seen at Rainham Marshes RSPB in August 2015.

Bird 3 (Lime Green - 'Dark')

Possibilities being considered. Await further details.

Bird 4 (Red White 8 - Yellow Red)

Adult male ringed in Iceland in July 2010. Wintering on the Swale Estuary, Kent, UK since. Seen at Rainham Marshes RSPB in August 2015 (and still present on 05 September 2015).